Exclusive: Former NBA player Powell talks BIG3, acting

Josh Powell goes up for a shot between defenders Dion Glover, left, and Al Harrington during a BIG3 game earlier this summer.

Josh Powell has been playing professional basketball since 2003, and has been been part of more than 25 teams in America and overseas. His most recent home has been with the Killer 3’s, a team in Ice Cube’s BIG3 league, of which Powell spoke highly.

“It gives guys a chance to continue doing what they love to do,” Powell told Amico Hoops in an exclusive interview. “Connecting with friends and former teammates, being able to go city to city. The atmospheres are amazing. They are selling out every night. Salute to Ice Cube.”

In addition to the BIG3, Powell has also taken on several acting roles. He was an extra in “Ride Along 2,” a movie starring Ice Cube. He will also make a cameo appearance in the upcoming movie, “Coins for Christmas.”

“We just shot ‘Coins for Christmas.’ I didn’t have a speaking role, but cameos,” he said. “I’m like one of the best friends to the lead actor. I was in ‘Ride Along 2’ as one of the groomsmen. I’ve been able to be on a few shows here and there. I’m open to it [acting.] It’s a different lane.”

Before the BIG3 and several acting roles Powell played seven seasons in the NBA and appeared in more than 300 games. He experienced most of his success in Los Angeles.

“My best tenure was with the Clippers,” he said. “I put up good numbers, production-wise.”

Shortly after his tenure with the Clippers, Powell would be a member of two NBA championship teams — as the Lakers won back-to-back titles in 2009 and ’10.

“Nothing is going to compete with winning two championships and being a part of that culture,” he said.

Powell didn’t get the opportunity to make many on-court contributions on those teams, but that didn’t matter. He just wanted to win. There were other ways for him to make contributions.

“Playing with a big selection of Hall of Famers, the amount of information you receive, being a part of that culture, expectations, the pressure. Day in and day out,” Powell said. “There are people out there that would rather put up numbers on a bad team. I want to be a part of winning situations whatever my role has to be. My thing was being a part of something special.”

Not only was Powell a two-time NBA champion, but he also won a EuroLeague championship. With his ego aside and his sole focus on winning, no less than Kobe Bryant had immense respect for Powell.

“Kobe Bryant where we saw eye to eye was competitors,” Powell said. “Just bringing it.”


Powell is cognizant he could have done more individually as a player, but his primary goal stayed the same: Team first; me second.

“If you look back at the games I was able to rock out, I was playing about 20-25 a game,” he said. “Scoring at a high clip. Rebounding at a high clip. Whatever my role was I came in there and did that. The one opportunity I had to start as a Laker I put up a 17 [points] and nine [rebounds.]”

Playing for a team like the Lakers was historic, but playing for his hometown Atlanta Hawks may have been a more significant accomplishment. He was apart of some of the best Hawks teams in franchise history, led by Joe Johnson and Josh Smith.

“The thing I loved about that was being a hometown kid, playing in front of your peers on the biggest stage,” Powell said.

Basketball has defined Powell for most of his life, but he sees an end of the road soon. He has kids and likes to be active in the community, as being a basketball player doesn’t define him.

“For the most part, I’ve been saying that I am going to hang it up this year,” he said. “I’m pretty much focused on the family side of things. My kids, being around more, being able to get into a lot of philanthropic work.”

Powell would consider getting into coaching “if it’s the right situation,” but his future remains an unknown. What is known? Powell, a kid from the Southside of Atlanta, lived out his dream to be an NBA player and then some. 

“Being a kid from the southside of Atlanta, the path that I had to take is unconventional,” he said. “It molded me into the person I am today, the father I am today, and the friend I am today. It makes you value relationships. A lot of times in these days, kids and adults feel entitled.”

But whatever Powell gets involved in next season, expect it to be a winning cause.